Review: Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio, Will Staehle (Illustrations)

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Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: November 24th 2015 by Quirk Books
Source: Publisher

Warren has a tough life. Even though he lives in a hotel that will legally belong to him once he reaches the age of majority (18), he has little more status than a drudge. His lazy Uncle Rupert has managed to destroy the reputation of the hotel and his new wife, Annaconda, is quickly destroying the hotel itself in search for something she calls the All-Seeing Eye. Warren does all he can to ensure that he at least has a hotel to inherit but it is really difficult when his new aunt destroys things quicker than he can fix them.

The hotel plods along for five years without any guests until everything changes. A strange guest (more mummy than human) arrives and his/her arrival is a harbinger of great upheaval and strife. Warren finds himself haunted by a girl in white and finds that Aunt Annaconda is a black witch with two equally evil sisters. He also finds that the All-Seeing Eye is not just a legend but actually exists. A horde of guests hellbent on finding the treasure (also known as the All-Seeing Eye) descends on the hotel which finds itself at full capacity for the first time in years. In other words, things get very exciting.

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Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye comes from Quirk Books who are known for the quality of the books they produce. Beautifully constructed with quality paper, this title is easily one of the beautiful books I have had the pleasure of reading this year. Each page is split into two columns and the story is told in both prose and illustrations with frequent use of different fonts to introduce surprise, fear or other shifts in emotion. The illustrations by Will Staehle are vibrant and atmospheric; my favourite portions were the black pages that continued the story from Annaconda’s perspective (the book is written in third person omniscient).

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The story itself will appeal to younger readers who will empathize with Warren’s plight against unfeeling adults, especially the evil Annaconda. I wonder if there is a purpose to making Warren so physically weird but I suppose we will find out as this is the first book in a series. I do think that the book will appeal more to children than adults as the story is quite simple and does not have the elements of a successful crossover novel. Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye would make an excellent gift for the young reader in your life. It’s emphasis on hard work and persistence will please the fledgling adventuress/r.

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